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Would you go to the governors?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by poltergeist, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. poltergeist

    poltergeist New commenter

    If you knew that the head had repeatedly behaved in an unethical or unprofessional manner (including in formal HR procedures), had seen him belittle and undermine other staff members, and believed that this was having a detrimental effect on staff health and pupil progress? Or would you sit it out and hope that either you find another post, or he does? I am certainly not alone in feeling this way, but there is a culture of fear in the school that prevents anyone challenging the head directly.
  2. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I would ask for union advice at a level outwith the school.
  3. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    The trouble with going to governors is that, all too often they are only there to polish their own CV, or some other personal gain, and so don't give a damn.

    There was a well known school in New Zealand where a courageous teacher blew the whistle on a head who was embezzling school money. He (the head) was forced to resign, but that's the point. The spineless governors didn't sack him, and from all accounts he enjoyed a very jolly send off:mad:.
    petenewton and schoolsout4summer like this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    As @Flere-Imsaho says.

    But unless you are trained and experienced in HR, I would suggest that you are careful here, as I have noticed often on these forums that people protest strongly against unfair and illegal HR procedures which are in fact nothing of the sort.

    Best wishes

    poltergeist likes this.
  5. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Theo, would the Governors be the right people to go to? If I had a query or problem like this I would go to the Local Authority HR dept. who are outside the Education department and line management and so I would be sure of getting both confidentiality and an experienced and impartial eye. I don't know what the "chain of command" is for stuff like this when you have Governors.
    poltergeist likes this.
  6. poltergeist

    poltergeist New commenter

    I wouldn't say illegal - I'm definitely not an HR specialist - but failing to follow specified procedures set out in LA policies. I have experience of working with governors, which is why I thought of them - I tend to trust the chair, although I don't know him well. I have contacted union, but it's a bit complicated as I'm also off sick. But I don't have a grievance, I haven't been victimised, just seen others victimised. Union rep focused on documentary evidence, which I can't provide without implicating other staff members.
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Governors can't just "do something" about the Head because a member of staff complains that the Head isn't behaving professionally. If you raise it with the Chair expect to be told that you or other staff need to follow the procedure set out in school policies. The policies are there for a reason - to ensure that there is fairness for all parties and transparency in how issues are investigated and resolved.

    Seems to me there are two possible approaches if you wanted to pursue this formally: Whistleblowing procedures or Grievance procedure. @GLsghost can comment much better than me on Whistleblowing, but from what you've said so far I'm not at all sure this meets the criteria for Whistleblowing.

    You don't have a personal grievance, and sounds like other staff who might have one don't want to bring a grievance themselves. Ask your union if they think a collective grievance is possible or justified. The union could bring this, but that doesn't mean staff can all be anonymous. Grievances need to be based on specific facts involving specific people.

    I appreciate you can't go into detail on open forum but bear in mind that "unprofessional" is bandied around here all the time and often means little more than that someone doesn't like the head's management style. Governors and LA might not share your view on what's unprofessional or unethical. Formal procedures need something more than that. "failing to follow specified procedures set out in LA policies" could mean almost anything, it could be a serious breach or trivial. (And LA policies are irrelevant anyway, it's the school's policies that apply, not the LA's).
  8. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Get a new job

    You don't have a chance with this, as you are probably beginning to see...

    Good luck!
    lindenlea likes this.
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Depends what for. I would suggest taking union advice before going to the Governors about anything. And you would only go to the Governors if that is what your school grievance procedure said.

    Yeeees, she says very carefully. You might find that they are on the phone immediately to the Head to say that Ms Flere has been complaining about how you managed the 2 i/c English vacancy.


    Ask the Union.

    Honestly, your interpretation of

    may not be HR's definition. It is often very hard for a member of staff to follow these documents, and there may also be flexibility in that something is suggested, recommended, best practice, etc., but not actually mandatory.

    Best wishes

    poltergeist likes this.
  10. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    Personally I would not take it to the Governing body. Two of these represent the staff and if bullying is going on then they may be part of it. Instead, find your advisor, one you know perhaps or can trust. And tittle tattle a bit. Just stir the waters. It takes time for things to be noticed and changes here will not happen overnight. Also report things to the unions because they too have an eye out for this kind of thing. And sometimes unions talk to advisors. Things get around.
    And be careful.
    Once you stick your head up you might be next. Keep your head down.
    schoolsout4summer likes this.
  11. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I don't think so, either - but the place to look for expert advice on whistlevblowing is the website of Public Concern at Work.

    Yours concerns, whilst an obvious irritation to you,seem too non-specific to have merit. You risk sticking your head above the parapet and making yourself a target, if you are not careful.

    If the school drives you so mad, I would leave and go elsewhere.
  12. Resolve

    Resolve New commenter

    Have a think about what outcome you want from this. You say there are others who are concerned but what are they minded to do? Have you sounded them out on what the best course of action MIGHT be if you all took a collective approach WITH support? Is your line manager aware of your concerns? Have you discussed this with your union?They can advise whether the situation is already on their radar. Are staff governors aware? They may be the ones to approach, informally, and hypothetically if possible "What if you were aware a senior teacher was x-y-z? " Off the record initially and in the company of a colleague if possible. Subtle soundings may inform the best way forward.
    GLsghost and poltergeist like this.
  13. poltergeist

    poltergeist New commenter

    Thank you everyone for replies - you've certainly given me lots to think about. I think I need to be clearer with myself about what I would be hoping to achieve, or what outcome I expect, other than just clearing my conscience!

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